The harley idled while the men talked in the hot sun. "Ever since diabetes took
my foot, I ain't been able to ride shit. Especially this older model. I can still
ride some of the newer ones sometimes, they're smoother. But not this guy. It's
a fucking shame, too. Best rides of my life...shit, the best DAYS of my life, were
on this bitch."
Jon's face showed some sympathy for the old man, but that faded and was replaced
by a greedy glean in his eye for an opportunity he didn't want to miss. "How much?"
he blurted out. "I mean, since you can't ride her. I'd like to make sure she still
sees the road, know what i mean? Not end up in some yuppie's garage for his brat
kids to play horsey on while he drives his Beamer around and bangs the nanny in
Tucker looked hurt at the notion of his bike being treated like that. "You're really
gonna ride her then? Keep her in good shape?" The old man tugged at his white beard
with a torn look on his face.
"My job requires lots of roads. And I want to make sure I get where I'm going when
I leave, so I need a reliable vehicle. That means I'll need her as much as she needs
Tucker sat quiet for a minute. "Well, these damn meds are so fucking expensive.
I'd cut you a deal, but I can't...the wife, she...well, to be honest she can be
kind of a bitch sometimes."
"I understand, man. I ain't trying to fuck you here, or get yer old lady pissed.
But this bike'll need work right off the bat, I can see that. There's rust, and
there's no way that clutch lasts another month. I can't go full sticker, if you
know what I mean."
"Yeah...Why dontcha come up and talk to the wife. She'll talk about the numbers.
I hate that shit. This feels like selling a kid or something for me."
Jon followed a limping Tucker to the back of the gas station, and up some creaky
stairs to the apartment above. At the top of the landing, before the door, Tucker
paused and fumbled with some keys. Jon turned around and surveyed the dusty, barren
road leading to the highway, with a rusted sign for El Centro hanging crookedly
in the dry wind. No other buildings were in sight except for an old, burned-down
church with a small cemetery out back and police tape around the front. There was
a hint of soot in the air from the church, and Jon knew the flames that took it
weren't older than a month.
As he turned back, Tucker cursed under his breath then swung the door open to a
dark interior. "After you, mister." Jon stepped inside, surprised at how dark the
interior was. Why did Tucker need to unlock the door if someone was inside? It's
not like there were a lot of people around here that might break in and rough up
an old woman. And why was this room so dark? The windows must have been painted
over or something to explain that. A feeling of unease hit him, and he turned around
to keep his eyes on Tucker, but the bright desert sun was behind him and Jon couldn't
make out anything.
"You know, maybe I don't want the bike as much as I thought." He made a motion to
leave, but the door swung closed, with a click indicating some type of lock had
"Wait a sec now, you made it all the way up here already! Just let me get the missus
for ya." The figure of Tucker dropped down to his knees, then slowly reared back
up, his eyes on fire. An ungodly scream then ripped through the room, still unnaturally
dark. "Ah, lycanthrope! Mellai has decided you will honor the Daemons with your
blood!" The voice was feminine, but sounded like 10 women speaking together all
at different cadences and with different accents. There was a muffled screaming
in the room now, echoing and without a source; the ambient sounds of agony and pain
from dozens of souls. The scent of sulfur was instantly overpowering to Jon's heightened
senses, causing his eyes to blur with tears. His nightvision kicked in now, and
Jon saw a huge scaled creature in front of him, with a hard shell crest around
the back of his head, like a dinosaur. Long, pointed teeth looked like bars in front
of a mouth that was filled with what looked like the glowing embers of a fire pit.
Yellow smoke tendrils snaked off various gaps in the scales on the body and face.
Each hand ended in three huge claws, hooked like a feline's and dripping some black
Jon instantly brought his hand up out of his pocket and popped the lid off a sports
bottle of Gatorade. "There you are - Eat shit, bitch!" He held the bottle filled
with the holy water up to the Daemon and squeezed. It was given to him by Miles
and supposedly blessed by various different sects and religious practitioners. "It's
almost guaranteed to work no matter what type of daemonsoul this is, it's like mixing
all the known snake antivenoms into one batch. Then if you run across a rattlesnake
or a bushmaster, you're still good to go. It'll make things go down really easy,
you'll see. No back up needed for this one." he'd promised. Jon had set out to
collect the bounty solo because everyone else was busy, and there was word that
this supernatural was going to move after the church fire called attention to her
nocturnal sacrifices after the bones of several children were found inside.
The water splashed off the face and chest of the daemon, a direct hit, and for a
brief moment the two supernaturals locked eyes, waiting to see the results of the
dousing. Eventually the Daemonsoul opened her mouth and made a noise that Jon was
sure was agony. He smiled and thanked Miles under his breath. But as the noise dragged
on, it changed enough that Jon realized it was actually laughter. Horrible, insane
laughter that would make children cry and dogs flee, howling. Then it became a roar
as the creature swung an arm out that caught Jon full in the chest and launched
him through the air, crashing over the couch into a wall behind it. A silence overtook
the room, as the creature slowly moved towards the overturned couch, fangs dripping
and nails scraping along the floorboards.
"RaaaaaWWR!!!" Where Jon had fallen, a 7 foot beast arose. The wolf leapt directly
into the chest of the daemonsouled full force, grappling the creature while driving
it to the ground and pinning it. The Daemonsoul's claws sunk into Jon's back, while
its maw closed around his throat. Where the claws cut Jon's back, the black liquid
seared and bubbled Jon's flesh, instantly smelling of gangrene. As the mouth locked
onto his throat, smoke rose as the fire burned his flesh. The smell of burned fur
cut into the stink of sulphur. But Jon never relented in his attacks, gouging the
beast's chest over and over with his own powerful claws. Eventually his claws peeled
away the thick scales from the Daemonsouled's torso, leaving dark, rotted flesh
exposed to Jon's attacks. Screams of pain and anger filled the room, as well as
cursing in various dead languages, as the Daemonsoul slowly began to succomb to
the viscous assault. Blood pooled on the floor around the two and spattered all
over the walls as they grappled in the center of the room. Gradually, the Daemonsoul's
attacks became less and less powerful, as his energy ebbed. Jon never relented,
in fact the gashes on Bregg's back had already stopped bleeding and started to heal
as the deamonsouled's arms fell away, lifeless.
Eventually, Jon stood up in his human form and looked down on the scaled humanoid
in front of him, panting and bloodied. The eyes of the creature no longer glowed,
and the stench of sulfur was slowly fading from the room.
"I guess I'll take that bike after all."